Service Cats: Pica: Why Is My Cat Eating That

MeOW  Welcome to Service Cat Monday. Sorry ‘bout last week, seems winter has arrived and with it winter storms. Anyways, let me get the business outta the way and we’ll get on with today’s posty. The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat Monday posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Feline Behavior. Ifin you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover, purrlease let us know in the comments section or send us an email. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can ketch up by clickin’ the links at the end of this post. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

So, the last topic we dealt with was inappropriate licking and Chewing. We’re going to take that a bit further today and meow about something called Pica. Pica is an actual defect that goes beyond the casual curiosity chewing of cords and other non food items. Did you know that some humans are affected by Pica too? Sure ‘nuff, but today we’re dealing with kitty/doggy Pica. First let’s explain what it is. A cat/dog with Pica will regularly eat or try to eat things like wool, socks, plastic (baggies), cotton, cords, boxes and other non food items. Pica is actual ingesting and not just chewing/suckling. Pica is not about your animal being hungry. Starvation is a whole other issue and not one a well cared for pet should be in danger of.

 

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This behavior (Pica) can be extremely dangerous, even deadly. Eating any of these items can cause tummy upsets, choking, unknown health issues/diseases or obstructions that require expensive surgery. We often see kittens kneading and “suckling” those soft floofy blankets/throws and think it’s cute. We have some really cute videos of me doing just that. You just watched one of them. Mommy needs to replace our blanket and throws every year because of it. Thankfully, me doesn’t actually eat the blankets/throws, but some kitties/doggies do. And, it’s NOT cute, it’s very Dangerous.

 

 Dezi and Lexi lay on the bed together

You can sort of see the suckled parts of this throw. Sis Lexi

and me both luvved it.

 

 

 

What causes Pica you ask? There are several possible causes: Nutritional Deficiency, Boredom, Anxiety, Teething, Early Weaning, Compulsive Disorder, and some Diseases and Health Problems, such as Diabetes, Leukemia, Tumors, Anemia and more. So again we say, Pica is not cute. It’s an outer symptom of an inner problem. If your cat/dog is exhibiting signs of Pica, DO NOT jump to conclusions or think the worse!!! We are NOT Vets nor is this post a means of diagnosing an illness.

 

Dezi and Lexi laying on the bed

See that spot behind me that looks a mess? Well, me just couldn’t help

me’s-self. Every meownin’ and night when me would give mommy a

massage, me would suckle the blanky.

 

What should you do if you cat/dog is exhibiting signs of Pica? Make an appointment with your VET to rule out any medical causes/diseases/illnesses or Nutritional deficiencies. Once kitty/doggy has been given a clean bill of health, remove the tempting items from kitty/doggy’s reach. This is a cautionary step and one that is often hard to continue for the life of the pet. Altho’ your pet’s health should be just as important as your own. However, we suggest finding the cause of the behavior and Re-Training/Directing the animal to proper behavior.

 

 Dezi kneads and suckles the cat bed

Me just can’t help me’s-self. 

 

 

 

We believe in treating the underlying issue so that kitty/doggy can live a full and happy life. Put on your detective’s hat and watch kitty/doggy closely for signs of stress, anxiety and/or boredom. Try to determine the Triggers, the Duration of the Licking/Chewing, what type of Object is chosen (the item may be different for different triggers), and the time of day/month/year. Holidays may cause your pet to become more stressed and thus cause Pica to be more prevalent at those times. Do you have guests? Is there a new family member, furry or not? Are you away from the home more than before? A little detecting will lead you to discover the cause or behavioral Pica. 

  

 Dezi poses for the camera while playing with the Cat Dancer

Inneractive play helps keep kitty from getting bored.

 

 

Some quick fixes/things to try, can be to set up a Decompression Room. Or, just spending more time with kitty/doggy. If kitty/doggy is bored, implement more play time. Maybe Train kitty to wear a harness and take them for walks. Please be aware of dangerous things kitty/doggy might try to eat while outside and avoid them. Redirect kitty/doggy immediately to an appropriate toy to play with. Include interactive play. Remember, Do Not Punish kitty/doggy, instead Always use Positive Reinforcement when they respond to Redirection. NEVER Hit your kitty/doggy. This will accomplish Nothing and only serve to diminish your relationship. You may also try medications. These should only be used under the direction of a licensed VET, and as a last resort. (in our opinion)

 

 Raena lays in house on liberty cat tree

Who? Me? I’s only suckle mommy.

 

 

One last thing, Suckling and Eating are 2 separate things. However, a cat/dog that suckles may progress to eating, so keep an eye on your pet and make sure that doesn’t happen. There’s no way we can cover every possibility here, but we do hope we’ve helped you to begin to understand Pica and how to help your kitty/doggy.

 

 Animated cats asking for email

 

 

We’re gonna wrap it up today. Remember, ifin ya’ have any questions or topics you’d like us to address, leave them in the comments section, or send us an email. And, as always, you can ketch up on any post you may have missed by clickin’ the links below.

 

Till the next time……………………………………Be Blest!!!

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle 

 

Service Cats

What to Look For      Training Foundations      Train Kitty To Massage

Smelling Disease      Do You Need One      Who Bears the Cost

Housing Laws & Exceptions      Accommodations & Common Sense

When the Handler Dies      Proper Training Methods Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

Easiest Task to Train      Getting Kitty Ready for an Outing

Discipline: Stop Countersurfing Kitty      Internal Disputes

Calling Emergency Help      Just What Is Kitty Capable of

Shad: Original Service Cat      Harness, Vest, Leash or Stroller

Dezi, the Wheelchair & Chest      Round and Round We Go

Tumble & Fall Response      Raena Calls for Help

The Rest of the Story     Raena & the Wheelchair Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4

When to Train      Explaining Rewards & Kitty’s Feelings

Stop Kitty’s Begging     Calling For Help Options Pt. 1

Medicating Kitty

Training the Pig Headed, Stallion Strong, Submissive Pup & Conniving Cat

Cats Love Training & Social Media Downfalls

Reintegrating the Scared or Bullied Cat      There’s No Bully Cat Breed

Going for a Walk When in a Wheelchair     Calming the Tiger Pt.1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3

Surviving A Remodel      Taming A Feral Cat

Designer Cats & Scent      DNA Doesn’t Change      Fighting or Posturing

Clicker Training & Operant Conditioning      Wheelchair Training

Basic Training Continues      Managing Without A Wheelchair

Are Spray Bottles Effective      Hands Are Not Toys

Does My Cat Need A Friend      Helping Your Bullied Shy Cat

Why Cats Scratch      Halloween Safety     Stop Cord Chewing

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